Now that you’ve got a smoker grill and are all set to cook some delicious food for your loved ones, you may be wondering how to work the thing.
Smoker grill can make some mouth-watering dishes, but they can be notoriously tricky to work on, especially, if you are new to the whole thing.
If you are not a pro at this and find yourself confused, don’t worry. We have all the tricks and tips that you have to keep in mind while making everything from the grill menu.
Or if you’re looking for smoker grill combos to buy, check out this comprehensive guide.
Here is a comprehensive guide to make your grilling experience the best. Give it a read, now!
1. How to prepare your Smoker grill
So, one of the first things you’ll have to deal with is temperature gauges.
Make sure that the temperature gauges are working fine. For that, you’d need to use two temperature probes as grills can be notoriously inaccurate in reading temperature otherwise. So, always get a grill with two temperature probes.
And, of course, you’ll need to know the accurate temperature to cook your meals the way you want it.
The temperature can vary drastically at different regions of the heating space. You’ll have to get an estimate. To make it easier, you can drill two holes on opposite sides of the grill and install the probes in them. It’ll help you to get a better estimate.
Now that you know all about the heating area, it’s time to understand how to heat it.
Fill up the firebox with charcoal pieces. About 15 minutes later, when it’s lit up, add wood chips. Before that, soak the wood chipping in nothing but water for about half an hour to get the perfect smoke.
It will add some extra flavor to whatever you are cooking on the grill. So it’s a must!
Now, preheat the grill to about 400ºF. Once that’s done, now slowly reduce the temperature to about 225ºF to 250ºF. It’s considered to be the perfect temperature for a grill, so maintain it.
Don’t forget to open the intake and the chimney. Oxygen is a necessity for combustion. So, you have to do this to keep it burning. It’ll also make maintaining temperature easier.
When at 400ºF, keep the baffles entirely open. Then slowly close the openings to halfway as you reach to the desired temperature of 225ºF to 250ºF.
2. How to add flavor to your grill?
One of the ways to add flavor to your menu items, is to add moisture to the smoke. It will result in juicier meat and will add extra flavor to it.
To do that, all you need to do is to pour some water in a hard foil bowl. Add some herbs and spices to it to your liking. Keep it inside the grill for some time when you’re letting it get ready. More on that in the next section.
Later in your cooking stage if the meat feels dry, to juice it up again, sprinkle water or apple juice with your fingers with a jerk motion. Do it nice and evenly. It will make sure that the meat stays juicy throughout your entire session of cooking.
If you need suggestions regarding which smoker grill to buy, check out this guide.
3. Patience is the key
Barbecue is all about giving it time. If you get that right, nothing will stop you from being the best at BBQ!
All kinds of meat need patience and time. Even before you start cooking, you need to be patient. Close the lid of your grill and let it soak up the flavor of the water, mentioned in the last section. Leave it idle for around an hour or more. When you open the lid again, it should be filled up with moist smoke which you need for the perfect barbecue.
Now, here’s something infamous in the BBQ world, the stall. It’s when you leave your grill for hours, but the temperature doesn’t rise at all, if not just a few degrees. If this happens to you, don’t worry. Just give it some more time, and it’ll be fine.
Now, different kinds of meat require different temperatures for the perfect texture. You wouldn’t want the meat soggy or medium rare. It should be tender and have a moist texture all over it.
To make it easier, we’ve listed some recommend temperatures for some of the favorite kinds of meat. But we recommend to look up a guide that is specifically meant for a type of meat if you want to cook that to perfection.
Chicken is cooked perfectly at 350ºF. When it’s almost done, give it about 8-12 minutes on the grill at 180ºF. If it’s a whole chicken, give it 60-75 minutes instead. Serve it about 15 minutes later.
For beef, you’ll have to grill it at around 400ºF and then when it’s about it to be done, grill it at around 135ºF to 165ºF for the perfect texture.
Cook pork at around 350ºF to 400ºF, then grill it again for about ten minutes at 150ºF. For ribs, you might have to do it for anywhere between 30 and 120 minutes. Hence, keep a watch meanwhile. Serve it about 15 minutes after its done.
Although seafood is an inclusive term for a lot of different types of meat, most of them have the same cooking procedure. The trick is to grill it at around 400ºF and then when it’s about to be done, cook it again at 140ºF for about 10 minutes. It should be served immediately!
Get the perfect meal every time!
Now with all the facts done, here are some tips and tricks to keep in mind when cooking!
1. Prepare well
If you mess up the preparation, the meat will never cook the way you want it. It’s quintessential that you preheat the grill perfectly with the procedures we mentioned above. Maintaining the temperature can be cumbersome, but you need to do it correctly if you want a great meal out of your grill.
You have to impress your friends and family, don’t you?
2. Keeping the temperature
Controlling the temperature is easy when you know how to regulate the air-flow correctly.
The dampers at the top and bottom of the grill shall help you do that.
To reduce the temperature, open the upper damper as it’ll let the air out. The combustion will get calmer, and it’ll be easier for you to cook as well.
If you open the bottom damper, the fire will get excited. It is how you increase the temperature. As we mentioned before, some meats need higher temperature for the perfect cooking.
Remember to always cook from low fire to high fire. Plan your items and ingredients according to that. That way, it’ll be more convenient to get the right temperatures when needed.
Also, keep a bottle of water with you. Not only, it’ll help you keep the meat tender during your entire session but will also be necessary to put out fire from time to time. You can also use apple juice for keeping the meat tender, it adds more flavor, but for this, you’ll need water anyway.
3. Get the best fuel
This one is a no-brainer!
Of course, you should get the best quality charcoal and wood for the perfect results. Old or previously used charcoal will burn way more rapidly, and it’ll be harder for you to keep the temperature right.
And fresh wood will make sure the smoke is voluminous and has the best flavor. It’ll also be more consistent, and you’ll have a more enjoyable experience at cooking.
Right kind of wood will also make sure that the flavor you achieve has the right character. You can get flavored wood like apple cider, cherry or maple and make your barbecue a little bit more unique.
4. Make sure the meat is perfect
You need the right meat for the proper BBQ! Now you can cook any meat, but here are some things that you need to make sure to get the perfect look and texture.
The meat should have fat. Leave all the fat on it if you can before you throw it on the grill. The fat will melt and cover your meat with a natural creamy taste. It’s the best way to make sure it’s tender and the texture if good. It’ll also make the smoke have a better flavor and everything cooked on it will be delicious!
Sear the meat entirely on one side before you turn it over. Don’t do it repeatedly. It will ruin the texture, which affects both its flavor and its look.
5. Keep it all in check
While cooking, open the lid and check the food every one hour or so. Liberally use the temperature gauges to do it and monitor the progress of your meat with a probe regularly.
It’s also important to add water to the water basin when you are checking. Feel free to add some more fuel in the smoker if it deems necessary. You can do that if the food is not done or is taking more time than usual.
6. Clean it properly
It’s obvious. Keep your grill grate and the smoker clean!
While cooking, whenever you do a batch, brush the grill grate with water. We recommend using a steel brush as it will have no parts falling off in the grill. Do it when it’s warm and empty, and do it frequently enough. It’ll help not ruining the test over more extended sessions of grilling.
Clean out your fuel tray after the party is over. Clean out the ash entirely so that everything goes right the next time you use the grill.
The grill will also have a longer life if it’s clean correctly every time. Even though smoker grills are robust and durable, it can catch on rust, and the paint may wear off if you don’t take care of it.
With this, we are done! You now know all the things you need to know for a great barbecue!
For an overview, remember to prepare the grill and the meat well. Keep the temperatures in check. And clean your smoker grill properly.
Also, keep in mind all the tricks and tips we mentioned at the end. It’ll make sure the meat is fantabulous every time.
Have a great barbecue!